Should I study English, or buy a car, or download a song?

Some people who contact me interested in taking English classes show such a puzzling attitude that always boggles my mind. I mean, it seems they want to learn but at the same time they don’t want to pay the price in time, effort and money.

Unfailingly during my vacation one or two prospective students/ clients will contact me. Hey, new meat! That’s always good but why in the 30 days prior to my vacation no one had contacted me?  There’s something skewered in the universe. Talk abself-employed-teacherout breaking the utopia of totally switching yourself off.  But that’s ok. As a self-employed professional I must stay alert to new business opportunities especially after giving up 10 days of pay.

It wasn’t different this time. There I was enjoying my days off in Dallas and then I received almost simultaneously two different contacts via whatsApp about English classes. I politely replied by thanking them for the contact, and explained that I was on vacation and as soon as I had gotten back  I would get in touch with them. You might be thinking “come on. Call them right away. They shouldn’t be made to wait”. Well, they have survived all their lives without me. Can’t they wait 5 more days? Don’t you judge me! (chuckles)

Once back from vacations, here’s what I’ve learned so far about my two prospects:

Prospect 1  – male – works at a bank where I already teach. And he named himself Apple Tree in Spanish. Just kidding. His last name is Manzano, got it?  Language level – Unknown. I asked if we could meet the following Monday for a chat and language evaluation. “Sorry”, he said, “I can’t because I’m leaving on vacation and  I WILL CONTACT YOU AGAIN IF AND WHEN I AM BACK.”

Ok. Fine. Thanks for the contact.

Prospect 2 – female – referred to me by the daughter of a student.  I tried to call her but she wouldn’t answer the phone. I messaged her asking when it would be a good time for us to talk and define her goals, fees, schedule, etc. No reply. 2 days later she messages me saying she hadn’t been able to call me back and said she would contact me again the following day. Still waiting for her. Now if she is THAT busy now, how will she be able to accommodate one more activity?

An adult in order to successfully benefit from any sort of studying, will have to invest time, effort and money.  Their respective amount may vary but they will be needed. The problem is that the purpose and means to achieve their goal must be defined before they commit to this new project, which will not be as fast as downloading an MP3 song and it may be as costly as buying a compact car over time.





My red, white and blue (and black) summer vacation

Yeah, yeah, I know, Virginia. I live in the Southern Hemisphere therefore I should have had winter vacations this July, but considering my wife and I traveled to the US – let’s agree to keep it as a summer vacation.

I’ve succeeded in convincing my sweetheart that I need to recycle my English and inhale some American oxygen every year ( don’t forget I’m an Americanoid) , so we always make an effort and try to travel to America at least once a year.

This time we traveled to Orlando, Florida and Dallas, Texas. In Orlando we met up with our “stepfamily” – Liz and Ray, their 15-year-

From Left to right: Jared, Honey, Mo, Ma Helen, Liz, and Ray

old son, Jared, and the matriarch, Helen. We spent two intense days and although I had some idea about visiting a theme park – namely Universal Studios – we actually ended up visiting only The Holy Land Experience, which was quite surprising.




IMG_3250At the entrance you just see a bunch of fake rocks and buildings but once inside the staff and the people attending generate a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. There are no “rides”, just some exhibition areas where you can see, for example, a life-size replica of the tabernacle in the desert, the Via Dolorosa (way cleaner and brighter than the real thing, I dare say), the Lord’s supper where you partake of the bread and the wine with Jesus himself (well, OK, every Jesus is an ordained minister – but it’s still a moving experience). You can visit a sort of wax museum where you can see scenes of Jesus’ life: birth, ministry, Garden of Gethsemane, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension).

The Temple of Herod

The highest point was the series of dramatizations taking place at the auditorium of he Church of the Nations. Stories about the four women who had a life-changing encounter with Jesus; the crucifixion; a modern-day parable about Angels, the moments of praise and worship all designed to successfully move you to tears. And I must say they powerfully succeeded with us. The day ends with a musical show of the fountains. I had

The Via Dolorosa – way brighter and cleaner than the real thing

thought the experience would take us 2-3 hours, but we spent the whole day there and were the last guests to leave.







We flew to Dallas and despite the toasty, roasty temperatures we had a wonderful 4th of July weekend there. With a patriotic concert of Larnelle Harris, barbecue at sister-in-law’s home and a fantastic fireworks display at the Dallas Athletic Club. We returned to Brazil on the 5th of July and I was very saddened by the news of the sniper killing and wounding police officers in Dallas.


Thinking allowed after the latest crises in America

In Orlando we had the opportunity to visit the memorial for the victims of the Pulse nightclub and every time the subject came up people would be extremely touched and saddened by that ignominious attack. But one thing that called my attention was that some people (let’s assume they were unaware of that) made some comments that bordered on racism such as:

“I don’t know why we bought a home in Apopka. There are too many black people in the area. At least, we bought it on the white side.” (Come again, ma?)

In Dallas, we stayed at the Comfort Suites in the northern part of the city because people had warned us the south side was too violent and dangerous (should I have heard “too many black people”?), but our hotel would lock its doors after 9 pm, because it’s not a very safe area. Hmmm… .

We went to the Larnelle Harris concert at the First Baptist church in Lewisville – and considering that Larnelle is a wonderful African-American gospel singer – his was the only dark face we could see in the whole church – sadly still confirming the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s statement who once said “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” And apparently little has changed.

It still boggles my mind that the organization of my dear Seventh-Day Adventist Church – still maintains separate conferences for whites and African-Americans.

On a brighter note, we had the privilege to meet our nephew’s husband for the first time. And YES, he is gay and black. Does it mean that he will have to die twice?

from left to right: me, my wife, our nephew Alex and his husband, Aaron

From what I understand he didn’t choose to be gay or black but I can choose to accept them and love them despite the differences. I cannot control the hatred and prejudice that permeate our world but I can choose how to deal with people’s differences.

That’s it.